Column: Faith communities at core of two ministries

by Matt Karr

The conversion of northeast Kansas ultimately depends upon the Lord. In the office of evangelization and Catholic formation, we remain prayerful and sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is doing in the church.

Over the past two years, I have come in contact with two worthy agents of transforming culture: the Light of the World evangelization process (LOTW) and the community-building mission of Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO). I have experienced these two ministries inspiring conversion, awakening faith, maturing faith, forming Christian communities, and actively engaging the evangelizing mission of Jesus Christ.

The Light of the World evangelization process (www.lotwem.org) incorporates three essential elements: an evangelization retreat that is designed to awaken faith and renew the sacraments of initiation; the formation of small communities, where ongoing formation and fellowship take place; and outreach and mission to others in the community. Last May, six parishes participated in the Light of the World leadership retreats. This fall, five parishes are participating in the four LOTW retreats at their parishes. Over 200 people are expected to attend one of these retreats. From these retreats we hope to begin a number of small communities and eventually we hope these smaller communities will be mature enough to have a profound effect in the work of evangelization in the archdiocese.

In addition to the LOTW process, we are hosting two Fan into Flame retreats in October and November. The Fan into Flame retreats are the first step in the process of forming communities where the faith can mature and within which the evangelization mission of the church can be fruitful. Saint Paul’s Outreach (www.spoweb.org) has helped to implement this evangelization process in the archdiocese.

The first Fan into Flame retreat is for students at local colleges, mostly drawn from Benedictine College in Atchison. At Benedictine, we already have four SPO households, which serve the work of Benedictine’s plan to form Schools of the Lord’s Service among the college students.

These students live a committed Christian life and are taking many of the leadership positions on the retreat. We expect nearly 80 students on this retreat and plan to invite them to commit to a new way of living for Christ.

The second Fan into Flame retreat is Nov. 6-8 at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg for married couples and young adults. Our hope is to host the retreat for an initial deeper conversion and establish small groups and a community that form a strong Christian environment where the faith can continue to awaken and mature.

More information on all of these events can be found on our Web site at: www.archkckecat.org. You may also call the office of evangelization and Catholic formation at (913) 721-1570.

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